I am writing this to share a different Scouting international experience. In 2015 the Scout Association of Mongolia identified their need to run a workshop to skill leaders to work with young people with special needs and here I am assisting run this workshop. It is at their national campsite at Bat-Sumer, about 200kms and 3 hours west of the capital city Ulaanbaatar. Despite it being summer, the weather is more like our winter. This country which is the most sparsely covered country in the world has a population of 2.7 million people- 70% under 35 and 5.8% over sixty. There are about 8800 members of SAM and most Scouting happens in schools.
Twenty four participants attended the workshop which included male and female cub scout leaders, scout leaders and Rovers. All except two of the participants were under the age of forty with the large majority being rovers and young leaders. There were six guests from national non-government agencies including: New Approach, Down Syndrome Association and a private orphanage. Professional participants included a doctor and three child workers experienced but untrained in working with children with disabilities. There are no formal training programs offered in Mongolia at this stage so many groups were keen to participate in the Scout training.
Next year in July, Scouts Mongolia will host the 31st Asia Pacific Regional Scout Jamboree. The program provides a chance for Australians to exchange their experiences and learn about Mongolian culture and history. There will be various kinds of interesting activities organized every day including the opportunity to meet people from other cultures and from Mongolia. Participants must be 12-17 years old at the time of the event. If you are 18 or older you can take part as International Service Team (IST, volunteer staff). Home hosting will be provided. More details are available from APRJ2017@scouts.com.au or visit www.aprj2017.scouts.com.au.
Peter Blatch OAM
Deputy Chief Commissioner Youth Program